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20 March, 2000
Top Greek delegation at Monday's EU General Affairs Council meeting, Kosovo to be discussed
A high-ranking Greek government delegation will be on hand in Brussels on Monday for a EU General Affairs Council session, expected to deal with preparations for an extraordinary EU summit in Lisbon next week and the situation in Kosovo.
Foreign Minister George Papandreou will arrive from Moscow for the session, while Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Alternate FM Christos Rokofyllos are also slated to represent the Greek side.
A report by the Portuguese presidency on employment and social cohesion within the 15-nation bloc, the primary issue of concern at the Lisbon summit, will be discussed in the Belgian capital.
In terms of contacts by the Union's defense ministers, topics on the agenda include the so-called "European Security and Defense Identity" (ESDI) -- especially the matter of creating EU military mechanisms - creation of a committee to deal with non-military crises as well as a report by the Portuguese presidency on this issue, and finally, discussion on the relationship between ESDI and third countries, namely, NATO member-states that have not yet achieved EU accession.
The latest developments in the strife-torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo as well as the situation throughout the Balkans are also expected to be discussed by the "15" during a working luncheon on Monday. According to diplomatic sources in Athens, the EU's high commissioner for common foreign policy and security, one-time NATO head Javier Solana, will brief FMs at the session over his recent tour of the region. EU External Affairs Commissioner Christopher Patten, who toured Kosovo with Solana, will also brief the General Affairs Council.
The same sources reiterated that Greece insists that the EU formulate a policy regarding a Kosovo solution based on political means and UN Security Council resolution 1244.
Finally, it was announced that SE Europe Stability Pact special coordinator Bondo Hombach will participate at the Brussels session, in light of a summit by the pact's donor countries on March 29-30 in Brussels.
Source: Athens News Agency